A Day Later, Details Emerge On Planned Parenthood Shooting
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
We start with the attack on a Planned Parenthood site in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday. There are still many questions about it. A gunman went into the facility and started shooting. The attack lasted five hours and left three people dead, including a University of Colorado police officer. Nine people were injured. Police have the alleged shooter in custody and are still searching the clinic for evidence and information. NPR's Nathan Rott has been following this story, and he's with us now. Hi, Nathan, have the authorities given us any more information about the man they have in custody?
NATHAN ROTT, BYLINE: Yeah, the police formally identified him earlier this morning as Robert L. Dear. He's 57-years-old, Caucasian and a tall, imposing figure based off of what police have said about him. They posted a mug shot of him on social media where he's disheveled with messy hair and a bushy white beard. The police say that Dear has an address in Hartsel, Colo., a small, unincorporated community about an hour's drive west of Colorado Springs. But public records searches show former addresses for him in North and South Carolina as well. NPR also found at least nine criminal filings under the name Robert L. Dear, mostly in South Carolina. Those included charges of personal intrusion and alleged animal cruelty, which were later dropped.
MARTIN: Are we getting any clearer sense of why he did this?
ROTT: No, not really. I mean, obviously, there's a lot of speculation. But at the press conference just earlier this afternoon, the city's police chief, mayor and even Colorado's governor say they're not ready to give out any possible motives yet. That said, the mayor, John Suthers, told reporters earlier today that people could make their own inferences based on where the attacks took place. Some people have taken that to mean that the clinic was targeted because of Planned Parenthood's role in providing abortion services and the heightened debate that's been going on over some controversial videos about Planned Parenthood that were released earlier this summer. Though we should say, that's still very tenuous and at this point certainly not confirmed. Even Planned Parenthood, for its part, says that it doesn't know if the clinic was, in fact, the target of the attack.
MARTIN: Would you talk for a minute about the three known victims? Can you tell us just a little bit about them?
ROTT: Yeah. One of the victims was a 44-year-old man named Garrett Swasey. He was a father of two. He worked as a campus police officer at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs campus, which is not far from the Planned Parenthood clinic. He was one of the first police officers to respond to the attack. He had been working on campus for six years and had also served as an elder at a church in town for the past seven. The identities of the other two victims have not been released yet and aren't expected to be released until Monday after autopsies have been finished. We do know that they're both civilians, though, and were not employees of Planned Parenthood. The clinic says that all of its employees are accounted for. As for the injured, five of the nine people that were hospitalized are police officers. All nine of those people, though, are reported to be in good condition or have already been released from the hospital.
MARTIN: Nate, before we let you go, what's next here - what's next in this investigation?
ROTT: Well, the investigation's going to be going through the weekend, obviously. And on Monday, Mr. Dear is going to appear in court for a preliminary hearing.
MARTIN: That's NPR's Nathan Rott, who's been following the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Nate, thank you.
ROTT: Thank you.
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